We know many teachers are concerned as reorganization is being contemplated in some schools, because some students are returning to face-to-face learning from the blended model. We have heard different reports from different schools around the district about various actions that are being considered. For example, some teachers may be being asked to prepare one or two kids to leave their room. It’s really difficult to think about having to let go of students we have been working with since September, and to feel concerned about the impact of this change on them. The efforts we have been making to help our students feel safe and supported during these unprecedented times makes saying good-bye that much harder. Some teachers have said that they would prefer to take extra students and go into (or further into) remedy rather than disrupt their classes.  

However, individual members or school staff committees cannot agree to things that violate the collective agreement (such as having a class go into remedy if that could be avoided through a reorganization.) The collective agreement, co-created and agreed to by the district (employer) and the STA (union), outlines limits for class size and composition that are really important for teaching and learning conditions. We bargained hard and made sacrifices – including striking in the 90s and a 14-year legal battle – for these provisions. While it is a difficult time of transition, the bigger picture – compliance with class size and composition limits – benefits all of us and our students. The district and the union share an obligation to abide by the Collective Agreement. 

The STA protested the original organization of elementary schools this year when the blended cohorts were created. We asked that space be left in the F2F classes for potential return. The district did not comply with our request, presumably for financial reasons. Now we see the unfortunate consequence- disruption to the F2F cohorts from a January reorganization. 

While it is not the responsibility of STA members to try to figure out a way to accommodate more students coming into our already full classes, there some things we can do, at the school level, to help ourselves and our colleagues through this transition. In discussions about class reorganization, we can provide information about which students might be more vulnerable to being negatively impacted by a mid-year transition. We can also consider ways of maintaining connection with students who may be moved from our classes. We can do our best to keep meeting the needs of our kids. 

The STA hears your concerns about the challenges of reorganizing classes. We continue to advocate on your behalf during regular meetings with district leadership. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss the situation at your school. 

Leave a reply